"Dealing as it does with interreligious dialogue, especially that between Christianity and Islam, our conference addresses one of the most salient symptoms of the larger issue which I try to address in this paper, namely, future of Western Civilization, which is at this moment in a very serious crisis, a crisis of its own making. Now I divide my time between carping on the venality, vulgarity, and moral odiousness of much of popular Western Culture – and working as hard as I can to retrieve and redeploy its neglected religious and moral sources. This is my main concern, and at the heart of this concern is the responsibility I feel for preserving and passing on the Christian faith which is the quintessential source of Western civilization. For all of the West’s historical mistakes and sins, as René Girard has argued, the West is the culture that the Gospel Christianized and that, in turn, has Westernized the world, awakening a secular form of Christianity’s salutary ethical concern for victims specifically and for the dignity of the individual more generally. More to the point, my concern here is with the responsibility we who have enjoyed the moral, political, material and cultural advantages of this civilization have for passing it on more or less intact to our children’s children."Thus begins the full text of the presentation I prepared for the annual Colloquium on Violence and Religion conference held at St. Mary's University College, London earlier this month.
Due to time constraints, I was only able to present excerpts of the presentation at the conference. Inasmuch as the theme was one that is almost inevitably disconcerting, we decided to put audio files of the entire presentation on the Cornerstone Forum website. We divided the presentation into three roughly 20-minute sections.
They can be found HERE.